Electra Battery Materials successfully completes battery recycling trial
Electra Battery Materials Corporation has successfully recovered lithium in its black mass recycling trial being conducted at its refinery north of Toronto.
The recovery and subsequent production of a technical-grade lithium carbonate product in a plant-scale setting validates Electra’s proprietary hydrometallurgical process and efforts to date in commissioning its larger refinery complex. Electra had initially launched its black mass demonstration plant at the end of December 2022, and has processed material in a batch mode, successfully extracting lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese, copper, and graphite. The first mention of the project had been in November 2021, when the company had also renamed itself from its previous appellation, ‘First Cobalt’.
As a result of the positive test result, Electra decided to extend its black mass processing and recovery activities through June 2023, beyond the Company’s initial target of 75 tonnes. The company also cites interest expressed by potential partners next to the preliminary results achieved to date as a reason. The exact amount that will be processed over June is not yet decided, but apparently will be determined in the coming weeks.
Beyond the ongoing project’s scope, Electra Battery Materials already has a supply agreement with LG Energy Systems for the delivery of cobalt sulphate to manufacture batteries. At the time, LG Energy Systems was also still in the process of negotiating supply deals for lithium in North America, which would make the company a prime candidate as a “potential partner”.
“Recovering lithium from black mass represents a potential game changer for Electra and the North American EV supply chain,” said Trent Mell, CEO of Electra Battery Materials. “Recycling lithium from expired batteries through hydrometallurgy lowers the carbon footprint of manufacturing electric vehicles and represents an important source of future supply for a commodity whose demand is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. From Electra’s perspective, it considerably strengthens the economics of our battery recycling strategy by providing another high-value product we can sell.”